As the holidays come to a close, the gifts have been given, the cookies have been eaten, and your Christmas tree is more than likely starting to look a little crisp around the edges. It is at this point in the holiday season that the realities of the Christmas tree dilemma start to sink in. If you have a live cut Christmas tree like the majority of the US population, you are probably beginning to contemplate how to dispose properly of the tree. This point in the cycle always seems so sad, considering this tree probably took at least 10 years to cultivate and grow and was cut down for a just a few weeks of holiday pleasure.
There are better, greener ways to do the Christmas tree thing (and we’ll talk about them in detail below), but if you already have a cut tree, your best option now is to send your little tannenbaum to a better place through Treecycling. These days, most communities have treecycling centers, where you can drop your trees off without hassle and know that they will go on to start a new life providing mulch, landscaping or erosion prevention.
For treecycling locations near you, look here >
According to the National Christmas Tree Association:
-Approximately 25 million-30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the nation every year.
-An acre of Christmas Trees produces the daily oxygen for 18 people.
-Eighty percent of artificial trees are manufactured in China, and most are made with PVC and other plastics, which do not biodegrade and which contain enough lead to legally require a warning label.
There are plenty of people out there who attest that “Real Christmas Trees” have real environmental benefits, doing all the oxygen-producing, CO2-absorbing work that any good trees do, and more of it. But this doesn’t change the fact that people chop 15-year-old trees down for a few short weeks of pleasure, then kick them to the curb, only to cause chaos with garbage collection and landfills. And the fake ones? Need we say more than: lead poisoning?
Our favorite option for Christmas trees is buying potted ones to replant, or “renting” trees for the holidays. If you have a living potted Christmas tree (and we applaud you if you do), you can easily plant that little guy in your yard after the festivites are over or donate it to Friends of the Urban Forest to be planted in an area lacking in greenery.
San Francisco got a lot of attention last year for their Rent-a-Tree program, which provides a variety of tree species to families for the holiday season. They can be strung with popcorn and tinsel just like their disposable cousins, but come early January, the city will pick them up and plant them in a neighborhood that needs some greening. Other areas have similar programs. The Original Living Christmas Tree Company in Oregon has been providing a rental Xmas tree service for some time. It’s not the cheapest route, but it definitely represents the spirit of giving that characterizes this season.
If you want something cheaper and smaller, try a DIY tree. The Yule Tree-To-Be Kit provides you with seeds to grow your own Noble Fir. This is a great idea for marking an important first (first Xmas together, baby’s first Xmas, etc.), and it grows in size and meaning as the years pass.
What are your ideas for greener ways of doing the tannenbaum tradition?